People Sharing Christian Testimonies

If You Ever Wonder what Happened to Me…

I am writing this message to tell anyone who might be interested about my story, especially about how and why I came back from a life of serving myself and my own ego to a life of living for God and believing fully in the Bible and in Jesus as the true Son of God. There will be some embarrassing details of my life here, but I only let go of my pride about it so that other people can see that I’m not holding anything back or being any kind of ‘religious’ man (like a Pharisee), but rather that I’ve had real encounters with the devil and with God, and that I now choose God very joyfully, very willingly…

Some people may not like it, and the devil sure will hate it, but I know that God already knows the details of all these things, and He has forgiven me, because I’ve asked….so I won’t let anyone else tell me I’m condemned or tell me that it wasn’t a sin, to get me back in ego mode….I know what I’ve done, and it’s all covered by the blood of Jesus…whether anyone likes it or not…I’ll try to keep it as short as I can…

My childhood wasn’t too different than most…but early on, I knew there was something very wrong about this world. From as early back as I can remember, my father wasn’t around much, and by the time I was four, he was gone for good…never to return or explain why he wouldn’t or couldn’t be around. Though my mom and adopted dad did their best to raise my brother and me, this still left me with a lot of unanswered questions…

Like most kids, I rebelled whenever the urge struck, but almost always was found out and corrected…I remember spending lots of time “in the corner” or on my bunkbed, with a sore bottom, crying and wondering why I couldn’t just behave, when I knew I was going to get caught and punished…I often agreed that I needed to be punished, but hated to have to go through with it again…but what was the answer? I snuck out of bed in the middle of the night to eat forbidden food, and was mean to my little brother just because I was older and bigger…just because I could…

But then as I got a little older, my family started going to church regularly…back in Clyde, Texas, when I was bout 9 or 10 years old. We went toa not-so legalistic, but very loving fellowship, led by Pastor Don Stone. (I actually got a chance to call him and talk to him and his wife Ginger recently. I called him to thank him for what he did for me. He obeyed God and gave me a prophecy, which was not allowed by the leadership of that church, but encouraged in the Bible (we must obey God rather than men, in that case Acts 5:29)

Everything he told me in that prophecy came true. He had the whole church sing like, 5 or 10 extra songs so he could tell me all this in the baptismal before he baptized me. He said that he knew I loved God and Jesus with all my heart, but that it didn’t matter, God showed him I was going to run from God for years and years…He said I would deny that I believed in Jesus if anyone asked, and I sure wouldn’t bring it up on my own. But He said that the whole time I ran I would really still believe, just not act very faithful. He called this period “Going Through the Woods”. He said I would run from my calling (he let me lead singing in church when I was 10 yrs. old), and use what was meant for God for my own selfish reasons.

He said that I while I was in the woods I would use it as an excuse to do all kinds of things I knew that God didn’t approve of. He showed me all kinds of ways in the Bible where Peter let Jesus down, and denied Him, even though he really did believe. Then he said that finally I would get really beaten down, and broken to the point of agony, and I would finally drop to my knees and ask God to rescue me….and that when I did, Jesus would pick me up and take me out of the woods.

But on the way out, he would show me the woods again, only this time from His perspective, and I would see that the only reason I made it far enough to cry out to Him was that he had been there the whole time, very close, watching over me. And he said that once I saw that, I would never really run from God again, and like Peter I would finish strong, and only occasionally stumble. And even then I would confess immediately, and therefore spare myself the curses of living in sin, among which is death itself.

And he said God had the whole thing planned out, because he knew it would make me so mad at the devil that I would rally to save other people from the same traps and fates, and finally very willingly and gratefully do the very things God wanted me to do, not even seeing them as work or trouble, but as a pleasure and an honor that I get to serve Him!! I’m paraphrasing since it’s been 30 yrs, but you get the idea…he also said that having a history would help keep me humble, like all the apostles. That way, I wouldn’t be tempted to judge people or write them off, because I had a lot of experience with open disobedience to God, and could empathize…

At any rate, everything happened just like he said it would, and I knew when he said it that God and Jesus were right there with him, and that it was the gospel truth. And I was a little afraid about it, but also excited, and I kept thinking, “I’ve got to get this trip through the woods out of the way so I can get on to really serving God!”

And so, a few years later, my parents got offended by some folks at church, and we stopped going altogether…I don’t even remember my friends inviting meto much either…but even still, for a while, I did my best to avoid going into open rebellionto God.

I wouldn’t even go out with my Christian friends who had cars, because they would want to go drinking or smoking weed, or “looking for love in all the wrong places”….I even continued to read my bible whenever I could talk myself into it. And an amazing thing happened: I kept reading in the new testament where the apostle John (the Baptist) and Jesus and Paul kept saying there were two baptisms, one by water, and one by the Holy Spirit…

And I just knew that if it was true, I wanted both…and so far I’d only had the water….and even Jesus assured that God, being the best of all dads, would eagerly give the Holy Spirit to those who ask (Luke 11:13)….well, I’m pretty sure that I went ahead and asked….at least once or twice…but it was enough….then one day, when I was in the best of moods, thankful to God for life…I started speaking in another language that I didn’t even understand, praising God…this went on for quite a while, but I guess I didn’t bother sharing it with anyone, because I wasn’t even quite sure what it was myself….since I’ve come back to believing fully in Jesus, I recognize that this was my prayer language from God….

And I can tell you that I totally believe that this gift and anything Jesus mentioned we could do are still available to us today. God even sent me in to academia to verify it….

I got a college degree a few years ago in Linguistics, the study of language in general.

I took Biblical Hebrew as one of my main languages. Many years later, at church on a Wednesday night, I heard my good friend speaking Hebrew…a friend who had never studied it. Though it had been many years, I knew it was real….it’s kind of like hearing Spanish….you may not understand everything, but you know that it’s Spanish…no other language sounds just like it…

Sometimes it’s a language that already exists (like they did on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2), and sometimes it’s a ‘new tongue’ (Mark 16:17)…sometimes it’s the languages or ‘tongues’ of angels (1 Corinthians 13:1)…so, I would never dismiss it even if it sounds out of this world…and whatever you think of this practice, if you are a Christian, I would encourage you to always believe what Jesus said about it (Mark 16:17), no matter what religious men or denominations or the world tells you about it…no matter how impressive their credentials…I mean, that’s kind of the whole point isn’t it…trust God over men…trust Jesus above the Pharisees? Remember, even the apostle Paul said “do not forbid to speak in tongues.” (1 Corinthians 14:39)…

At any rate, I do speak in tongues now. I have my own prayer language with God, which anyone can get if they are seeking the real baptism of the Holy Spirit….it is available for all…it may be the least of the gifts of the Spirit, but it is still better than the best of the gifts of the devil or of the world…

Well even though I got this gift in my teens, I still ran from God for many years, just like the prophesy, and stopped talking with God in any way, really. Not even a prayer now and then…and I tried to be a ‘self-made man’, working two jobs and going to school full-time, and hardly ever sleeping, hoping it would all pay off with “the good life”…

At times I would take long breaks from school, and spend most of my free time playing in bands, trying to be a rock star…though that may not have been my main ambition, I did want to have the glory for myself instead of making it about God or even giving Him credit….I knew that any and all talent and inspiration and creativity I had came from Him, but I didn’t want to share the truth about Him…after a while our band, had some minor league success, and even a major publishing deal for our songs…but not before I had to pay an incredible price…

While on the way to record our first album for a crummy little record label, I was literally attacked by demons! I don’t really care if anyone thinks I’m crazy for saying so, but that’s exactly what happened…and I deserved it! I was in open rebellion to God, making music all about myself and for myself and vain glory, smoking weed, cigarettes, drinking booze, cussing, and other things to show I didn’t really care what God thought about holiness or what I was up to…

It all came to a boiling point when, at a little rest stop on the highway in Pennsylvania, we decided to stop and take a nap at around 3 in the morning. None of us had slept much for a week or so, because of our excitement….We were listening to Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” album at full blast (as a way to wind down and relax for our nap…hey, I think we were ALL a little crazy at that point??)….when all of a sudden, I felt totally paralyzed, like I couldn’t move or speak if I wanted to, and I saw these two shapes, like grey-white smoke or fog, coming towards me from the front speakers of the van….and then they entered me, and as soon as they did, WHAM!! I felt the biggest pain in my chest I’ve ever felt (the devil comes to kill, steal, and destroy John 10:10).

I really thought I was having a massive heart attack, the kind you really couldn’t come back from…I didn’t even want to say a word to my band mates (and really, I was still sort of paralyzed), figuring that it would just get their hopes up that they could help me. I figured even if they called an ambulance, I would be dead before it reached me. This was just another way the devil was lying to me, and I had fallen for way too much of his talk already.

But the pain just kept on coming, harder and harder, for ten or twenty minutes, which was the only thing that changed my mind about telling them, and I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I thought, even if I get ANY relief before I die, better than none! I never did get it checked out, but it kept happening, for days, weeks, even years…though I managed to control these “panic attacks’ more and more, I never revealed what I knew to be the cause of them for many years….that’s how stubborn I was about running from God and His answers (though I know I said a prayer to Him that night, which is sure to be the only reason I’m still here…).

Since that time, but only recently (for the last year and a half), I have been working for a Christian deliverance ministry that helps people get free from all kinds of attacks on their life from the enemy of their souls…casting out demons, shutting down spirits of delusions and diseases, and healing people. And I’ve seen some crazy things, but it’s all very real….even physics defying kind of stuff.

One time, a lady came down for ministry, and she got so attacked that literally, she was being held up off the ground by spirits, a battle between angels and demons…she let out a bloodcurdling scream that lasted an impossible two solid minutes, really loud, and for the last part of that time, her mouth wasshut and the back of her head was laying on her spine, while her hands were touching behind her back, just impossible contortions…and then she collapsed like a pile of bones in the floor, while the two ministers helping her hovered around her and prayed….

About five minutes later…the lady was sitting up in a chair, happy and peaceful as can be, fully delivered from that attack!! I say this all to the glory of God, and that anyone really wanting God to prove Himself and prove these things still happen will see for themselves!

well, back then, after I started to get healed from being attacked, I didn’t even stop trying to be a rock star, but just kept lying to myself and telling myself it was all OK. That is, until my first kid was born. I quit smoking on that day, and really didn’t pursue being an ‘artist’ with original music in the secular world anymore. But I did keep on drinking and playing music in the bars, whatever cover songs we liked that people would actually listen to. Mostly these ‘gigs’ never did pay much, except free beer. And since that was the case, I figured I needed to get my money’s worth….(and if that ain’t the devil talking, I don’t know what is…).

So, we’d play probably two or three times a month…but then one day, because of a special BBQ party that went a little long, I wound up getting paid in beer for ten straight hours in a row! I was pretty pickled, and then I went to put my gear in my van at 2AM, and saw that I was the only car out on the road except a police car…so I decided to walk home (only a mile), but they got me for public drunk…

I was beligerent to the cop, and to his credit, he kept his cool and never even responded. I told him sarcastically that I really loved the way they arbitrarily enforce the public drunk laws…(seemed to me on OU football game days, everyone was public drunk, but you had to start a fight to get arrested….)..

Later, on the cold floor of the drunk tank, where sleep was not even possible, I had a lot of ‘alone time’ with God….I didn’t really hear His voice, but these questions in my head that weren’t coming from me…..He asked:

“So you think that this public drunk thing is pretty unfair, huh?”

“Yeah, Lord, it sucks….really bogus.”

“OK…but think about this for a minute: How many times did you actually wind up driving drunk, fully aware of the laws, probably veryimpaired?”

(here I just counted quickly somewhere between 20 and 40 times, easily)

“OK, now what do you think prevented you from getting killed on those nights, or killing others by your negligence, or getting arrested?”

“Uhm, that must have been You…Your Grace…”

“OK, now tell me, out of all those times, how many arrests do you think it would have taken for them to lock you up and throw away the key?”

“Uhm…probably about three?”

“Good guess…now how about this public drunk thing? Still unfair?”

(this is where I just kind of melted and truly experienced the grace that He had given me so far…it was too much to take in…it was not only more than fair, it was actually unfair to my advantage…and what I was complaining about was actually something I should’ve been very, very grateful for…I’m sure I let Him know what I was thinking and thanked Him, but everytime someone wasn’t looking me directly in the face, I was bawling like a little kid, as silently as I could…

Later on in the morning, about 7AM, I got released into the general population, where I stayed for about 4 hours or more…it was very much like a real prison…and God was showing me around. It was around Christmas time:

“Look around at all these guys in here….do you think many of them are going to get some calls Christmas cards this year, from their families and friends?”

“No, Lord….no they’re not….I don’t think so.”

“Do you think that there’s alot of people on the outside that give a rip about them?”

“No, Lord…I don’t.”

(and here’s where a long pause came while God waited for me to make the offer, though I knew I couldn’t bargain with Him)…

“I’ll come visit them, Lord….Help me do what I can to encourage them and let them know somebody cares, and that you love them, Lord….I’ll come in and play some music for them…whatever you want, Lord.”

And so, I started out thinking I could get a group together for a Christmas concert, but it was more complicated than that….the county jail said they didn’t really have musicians come play, but that I could try to do it at the prisons…but the Oklahoma Department of Corrections wanted me to write a 3 page letter with the ‘mission statement’ of my ‘ministry’…

And I didn’t even know if they’d really let me in when they figured out I didn’t have any credentials, or an official ‘ministry’….so it took me a couple of years to even get the courage and the energy to try it….and they let me in right away…and I’ve been doing it for about five years now…and not long after that, I started going in to a local rescue mission a couple of times a month to do a chapel service, playing the music and giving a talk out of the Bible…and in last year, I’ve been trying to go to nursing homes and senior centers to play some music for the residents…but all because of God’s leading, and me being very, very aware of His amazing grace, and hoping to share it with any and all…

But I need to back up, because even after the gradual slowdown for the selfish rock ambition, according to Jesus, I was already committing adultery….because He said that even if you only look at a woman with lust, you’re already committing adultery with her in your heart….and during this time I was addicted to pornography, and though it was dubbed ‘soft core’, the addiction itself was hardcore, for about 4 years…

And I was a tortured soul….though I had everything this world had to offer by that point, success in my chosen ‘career’ field, a beautiful wife and young son, lots of possessions, musical gear, a touring van, the ‘respect’ (which often was more like envy) of many fellow musicians, even the ones far more successful than me (with the fortune and fame part of the deal)…

Though I had all these things, and lived impractically a mansion compared to what most people have, and plenty of other blessings, I wasn’t really thankful in any significant ways, and I couldn’t sleep most nights…just tormented by guilt and shame and panic and worries, and the sense that the most important element of life was missing…but never really willing to try God…not quite yet…though we were constantly being invited and asked to go to church at that point,neither my wife or myself would ever really take them up on the offer…always making up the lamest of excuses, anything…to get out of it.

I have to say that although I now appreciate that many folks around me were doing their best on their own to try and help me, no one was really pointing me to God or giving God credit for their own peace or prosperity…and the few believers I knew at that point were pretty judgmental and not such a good example…but God used it all to show me not to rely on what other people say or do, whether religious or not….and it was not about them, it was about my own rebellious nature…pointing fingers never fixed the real problems, but always made it all much, much worse…

And all this finger pointing eventually led me to the other biggest mistake I made, other than seeking rock and roll fame and fortune….really committing adultery on my wife, essentially putting an end to a dying relationship, dying from a lack of God’s presence and wisdom, as well as from my unwillingness to be any kind of responsible or humble head of household. Instead I let my wife take control of much of what should have been my duties, and it didn’t really matter if she was willing to step in or not, I should never have allowed it to go there…

So I justified my cheating on her by reminding myself of some crazy things she had been doing to me, which was mostly her way of taking control since I wouldn’t….and then I couldn’t lie about it when she confronted me and asked about it, and it was all over from there…a mistake which I am still in some ways paying for, not getting much time with my kids even some 10 years later….

But God has assured me He’s forgiven me, and that there is redemption in this life and in the life to come….and anyone who’s ever really known Jesus instead of “Mere Christianity” as C.S. Lewis calls it, knows that is true, and that He keeps His word. Look at the thief on the cross if you need a reminder that anyone can be saved and redeemed…and then if you’re not in his situation, and aren’t about to be put to death for your crimes, then there is redemption in the here and now for you, too….

And this is still true for you, whether you’ve ever believed in God or Jesus Christ before or not…as long as you’re willing to turn from your ways and surrender your life to Him and admit you’re like the rest of us, that none of us have any righteousness on our own, apart from what He brings. All anyone has to do is ask Him for His help, admit your mistakes and sins to Him. Like any good dad, He has to correct His kids…no good dad lets His children run out in the street and get themselves in danger and trouble without getting corrected. The parents that do that are the ones that really don’t care.

But God really really does care, He’s the best dad, the Grand Daddy of all good dads…He says try Him and see…because He knows that if you really did give Him a good earnest, honest try, you could never deny Him again….He will show up big time and take your heavy load from you, and give you peace, joy, hope, and love unequaled by anything or anyone of this world…all that and much, much more…

There is much more I could bring up about myself to prove to you that I, like everyone else, am prone to becoming a depraved heathen without the constant presence and wisdom of the Lord with me at all times…for instance, I was also super critical of all the world’s governments, especially the US government…but one thing I can tell you for sure, after being on the holy side of spiritual warfare for a while now…is that judging people in power and becoming jaded and hateful towards people who are evil, does nothing to make us more holy, but rather, it’s the devil’s oldest trick, and turns us into the very thing we despise….

And any true follower of Jesus knows that our battle is not against people, that we should never judge or hate people, because “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

In other words, we wrestle against Satan and evil spirits, and not the people they might be temporarily working through. ‘Cause you know, Jesus could do a last minute save of those people like He did with the thief on the cross, and then, well, to put it very mildly, we’re going to be left holding the bag, looking like the biggest of all fools, with nothing left to defend ourselves with…

So, I know this is like a little novel, and say a special “I’m sorry” to anyone who fell asleep several times on the way through reading this, and thank you for getting this far! I do hope and pray that you will really consider what I’ve said here, and not write it off, or write me off, that you think I’ve really finally lost my mind, when in fact, I just now really found it.

Believe me, life gets pretty surreal whether you’re serving God or running from Him, but it was a big part of my spiritually awakening when I discovered that no one ever really tried to crusade to save me from myself and ego delusions and drinking booze, but as soon as I got out of that life, one of my friends crusaded to save me from Jesus! He said he was concerned that I was using Jesus as a ‘tonic’. I told Him very calmly that He never was worried when I was using tonic (booze) as a tonic, when that was what was actually killing me, and that Jesus hasn’t done anything but save me from tonics that don’t really work!

Also, people from the bar scene ‘worried’ about me, when they found out I wasn’t playing in bars partly because I couldn’t stand the cigarette smoke. They kept asking me if there was sure there wasn’t “something wrong” with me, and if I couldn’t just get a doctor to give me something to be able to stand the smoke. Wow! I just had to tell them….sorry, but it’s poison! I tried to tell them that they’re all allergic to it, too, but they’re usually too drunk to feel their lungs till the next day…and then they choose to forget the pain and hangovers next time they go out…PLUS, there just wasn’t anything compelling me to want to be in a bar…I still love the people, but the bar scene is the most depressing, uninspiring place I’ve ever been…and I hate to see anyone doing that to themselves…I hate that I was willing to bless it for so long…and what it did to me…

It all just proves that a person can tell themselves anything to justify their next bad move…but God bless us all…if God can pull me out of that world, He can get the most stubborn of all those who remain, and I hope and pray that He does quickly and mercifully…

Anyway, God bless you all. I have to say to all my friends and family that I am sending this to, that I do hope and pray for many holy and happy reconciliations between God and all of us, and between each other….in the here and now, soon and very soon….on Earth as it is in Heaven… where the circle is definitely unbroken…this fallen world is getting old, old, old, and it has to go…to be replaced by the one God always intended…personally, I can’t wait…

peace and love to you all,

Mark Lewellen

One Response

  1. jane 7/20/2011

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